Hannah’s Dream Team
Brother’s Air & Heat are the proud Supporters of HANNAH’S DREAM TEAM
March 7, 2003, marked the starting point of our race with juvenile (type 1) diabetes. That was the day that Hannah Costner was diagnosed with this chronic illness. We soon learned that this type of diabetes cannot be treated with pills. It must be treated with shots of insulin.
“…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12: 1c (NIV)
With practice, mom, dad, and Hannah began to get the “hang” of daily injections. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it when you have to give at least 4 injections per day! Along with the injections, blood sugar levels have to be checked at least 8 times per day. Part of the daily management of diabetes is that you have to scrutinize everything that goes into your mouth. Therefore, we have all learned to count carbohydrates. She gives insulin based on the amount of carbs eaten.
In December of 2003, Hannah began using the insulin pump. The pump has 24 inches of tubing attached to it that goes directly to a site either on her stomach, arm, or thigh. The insulin travels from the pump, through the tubing, and into a catheter just under her skin. This medical device simulates a pancreas, in that, it delivers small amounts of insulin at regular intervals. It can be programmed to give certain amounts on an hourly basis, depending on her body’s demand for insulin. The insulin pump cartridge and site on her body have to be changed every 3 days to avoid infection. Blood sugar still has to be checked at least 8 times per day. Using the insulin pump has lessened the headaches she had from the huge swings in her blood sugar when she was on injections. We figure that, in her relatively short period of having diabetes, she has pricked her forearm to check blood sugar more than 10,500 times and has changed her site (by sticking an inch and a half long needle in her body more than 250 times.
Hannah visits her pediatric endocrinologist every 3 months for a check-up. We all try to guess what her A1C level will be. That is a routine blood test that checks her average blood sugar for the previous 3 months. Usually, it’s very good. Once a year, routine blood work is done to check her overall health. For the past 3 years, she’s had excellent “pit stops”.
Bumps along the way:
Hannah still has ups and downs with her blood sugar levels each day. There are so many factors that affect diabetes – exercise, food, stress, growth, illness, and fatigue. It is a very difficult disease to manage. This past summer, while out shopping with the whole family, Hannah experienced a sudden drop in blood sugar. It went down to 38. (The normal range is 80 – 140.) She said it felt like she was going to pass out. Duck quickly handed Zach some change and told him to get a soft drink out of a nearby vending machine. I’m sure that 9 year old feet and fingers have never moved so fast! Duck then carried her out to the car as she drank some of the Mountain Dew Zach had selected. After about 15 minutes, she felt fine. At times, her blood sugar can spike up to 300 or more. This happens a lot at night and Duck and I get up every night 2 or 3 times to check her blood sugar and make adjustments. We don’t even have to wake her up to check. We check the blood sugar on her forearm and make adjustments with the pump that is usually tucked under her pillow. The only time we have to wake her up is if her blood sugar is low. At that point, we have to give her some juice to drink.
Every morning begins early for Hannah. Not only does she do all the “normal” things a teenager does to get ready for school, but she has a list of things that she CAN’T forget to take to school with her – her meter, test strips, glucose tabs, juice box, glucagon kit, extra snack for “lows”, etc. So, she has to be prepared. On site change day, we have to get up at 5:30 to put numbing cream on a new area for a site so that she won’t feel the needle as she puts in the new site. On those mornings, she has to allow extra time for the site change before she leaves for school. She is able to change her site all by herself now as either Duck or I give guidance. Zach doesn’t like to be around when she changes her site. It is very hard to watch. On more than one occasion, he has said, “Mom, I just don’t see how she does it.”
Race Supporters: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
All races have race supporters. Our race supporters are people like you – the ones who lift Hannah up in prayer and who give encouraging notes and words. We can’t thank you enough! Last year, at JDRF’s Walk for the Cure at Carowinds, we had 56 walkers and our team raised over $19,000! This will surely lead us to the finish line of finding a cure in Hannah’s lifetime! We invite you to join our team. Our goal for this year is to raise $20,000. There are many opportunities for our supporters. Some set aside a certain time of day to pray for Hannah as she deals with her diabetes – especially during school hours. There are so many challenges that face her there. Others send in a financial contribution to the JDRF. For those who wish to make a tax deductible donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, we ask that you send a check in the enclosed envelope by March 27th. Every dollar brings us one step closer to a cure! Hannah and Zach love to look for those colored envelopes in the mail each day! Those who are able may choose to wear our special team shirt and walk with us on April 19, 2008 at Carowinds. We appreciate your support in any or all of these ways! For those who would like to join us in walking for a cure at Carowinds this year, you may register online by going to www.jdrf.org and click on “Walk for the Cure” logo. At that point, follow the directions for registration for the walk in Charlotte, NC, at Paramount’s Carowinds on April 19th. You will need to register under our team name, “Hannah’s Dream Team” – team captain – Jennie Costner. There are incentives for those who raise $100 or more.
I heard in a sermon this year that friends are a lot like stars – sometimes seen, but always there. We thank you for being Hannah’s stars.
“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)
Finish Line: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
Hannah longs for the day when she won’t have to think about how many carbs she puts into her mouth. She dreams of the day when she won’t have to check her blood sugar 8 times (or more) per day. When will those annoying site changes and blood sugar checks be “history”? How much longer will she have to worry about “going low” or passing out? When will Mom and Dad finally get a full night’s uninterrupted sleep? When will Hannah finally get to enjoy regular ice cream or a Hershey bar – guilt-free? Will she ever be able to go on an overnight trip without having to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to check her blood sugar? When will she ever be able to do her ballet dancing or basketball playing without the worry of going “low”? Diabetes is not just a passing illness – it’s one she’ll never outgrow. And insulin is not a cure – only life support. The long term effects of diabetes are many, but we don’t choose to dwell on those. Our hope is that diabetes will be cured in her lifetime and we pray toward that end. The finish line – a cure for diabetes – awaits. The JDRF is dedicated to finding that cure. Thank you for joining us as we race together to the finish line!
With sincere thanks,
The Costner Family
Duck, Jennie, Hannah, and Zach